The alarming impact of fast food on a child’s nutrition

Fast foods have become very popular among children today. And while they look and taste great, these fast foods have several negative impacts on individuals, especially children. In the last few years, fast foods have been linked to the growth of several health conditions in children, the most common of which are mentioned below.

Obesity

A child is said to be obese when he/she weighs 20% more than the normal weight for his/her age and height. Children who eat fast foods on a regular basis tend to become obese at a very young age itself. Fast foods are loaded with plenty of fat and calories. Eating these foods would therefore, stuff the body with more fat and calories that it can burn off. The excess fat and calories get stored in the body, gradually leading to obesity.

Heart Diseases

Fatty foods contain high levels of LDL cholesterol (fat buildup in the arteries) that can clog up the arteries in the heart, causing heart attacks or strokes (even in children). And fast foods are loaded with fat. Children who eat fast foods regularly are at higher risk of contracting conditions like hypertension, high blood sugar and high cholesterol as they grow. These three conditions are also known to increase the risks of the child contracting several heart related ailments and diseases in the years to come.

Diabetes

Fast foods are generally high in sugar content. When consumed, they supply more sugar than the body can break down. The excess remnant sugar then mixes with the bloodstream, causing high blood sugar or diabetes. Children who eat fast foods are more at risk of contracting childhood diabetes which would continue to haunt them during adulthood as well.

Digestive Disorders

Fast food is generally lacking in fiber. Low levels of fiber in the body would cause digestive problems and lead to conditions like constipation. Children who eat fast foods are prone to develop constipation, and suffer from its side effects like gas, flatulence, abdominal cramps etc. Fast foods can also contribute to acid reflux which can turn into ulcer with time.

Psychological Problems

Nutritional deficiencies can cause psychological problems like irritability, stress, depression etc. Fast foods is essentially lacking in vital nutrients needed by the body. Therefore, when a child prefers fast foods to healthier food choices, he/she would be stripping his body of the essential nutrients it needs to function on a daily basis, thereby causing nutritional deficiencies which would in turn cause stress and depression etc.

Summary

Fast foods can be eaten on an occasional basis. However, eating the same regularly can be detrimental for your child’s health in the long run. Therefore, it is considered wise to make sure that he/she sticks to healthy food choices while opting for fast food only on rare occasions.

 

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